The cartoonist whose real life inspired Pepé Le Pew explained the skunk's hapless views on romance
"His devotion to women was at times pathetic, at times psychological, but always enthusiastic."
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The first time Tweety uttered the phrase "I tawt I taw a puddy tat" happened in the 1942 Merrie Melodies cartoon A Tale of Two Kitties.
This cartoon featured two cats, Babbit and Catstello, as a parody of Abbott and Costello.
Voicing Catstello — and Tweety in his debut role (when he isn't even yellow yet, just a featherless hatchling) — was Mel Blanc, an iconic voice actor in cartoon history.
Voicing Babbit was Tedd Pierce, a cartoon screenwriter who rarely voiced characters but whose real life ended up inspiring a very famous figure in cartoon history: Pepé Le Pew.
"If there was ever another pogo stick," cartoonist Chuck Jones wrote in his autobiography, referencing the skunk's well-known hops, "It was Tedd Pierce."
"His devotion to women was at times pathetic, at times psychological, but always enthusiastic," Jones continued. "It would have been impossible to work with Tedd and not come up with the idea of Pepé Le Pew."
Throughout the time that Jones worked with Pierce, Jones knew Pierce as an honest, decent, and thoughtful ladies' man.
In the biography, Pierce is quoted explaining his own hapless romantic views. He said his strategy was to ask a lady out and upon acceptance from a lady, he just fell extremely hard every time.
"I never offer flowers, baubles, or bubbles before an encounter, but my love and admiration and resources become boundless afterward," Pierce said. "I want my love to feel loved, admired, cared for, and deeply aware of my gratitude and affection."
Four years after Pierce voiced Babbit in A Tale of Two Kitties, the character Pepé Le Pew debuted in the 1946 cartoon Odor-able Kitty. Pierce wrote that cartoon.
"It was only logical, of course, that Ted would be in on the beginnings of Pepé Le Pew," Jones wrote.
In Odor-able Kitty, we watch as Pepé's tail bounds through a field of pink flowers. When the "odor of attraction" hits, his tail sticks straight up. He spends the rest of the cartoon in romantic pursuit of the cat he declares is his "little cabbage."
"Tedd worked with me as a writer-gag man for several years, a source of constant surprise and delight," Jones said, proudly pointing to his early work with Pierce as some of his best.